I’m chatting with Will Groves, the bass guitarist of Glass Caves, an hour before they go onstage here at The Macbeth, Hoxton, London. At which time it’s easy to get a drink, view the pub’s wall murals and picture when the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Florence and the Machine and the Horrors were playing here on their journeys to success.

“We’ve played this area and London before. We always seem to have lots of people attend our gigs, so, yeah, hoping for a full house tonight. At least that’s what we’ve been told that’s what to expect.”

Glass Caves came on the scene a couple of years back, busking their way from the streets of Northern towns and cities, to venues of differing sizes and notoriety across the UK.

Their live performances and debut album ‘Alive’ have provided a dedicated, and ever increasing fan base. They currently carry a tag of “up and coming Indie rock band”, and some would even say, that they are “the saviour of Indie.” It seems every year a band come along to be crowned king of the castle, only for the adulation to be a passing phase. Next…

The Macbeth’s sound system has been blazing out the likes of Bowie and The Jam as pre-band entertainment. The crowd are having their own private party to the Doors’ ‘L.A. Woman’, as the four piece, arrive on stage. So it can be said with accuracy, this is the night that the Doors gave way to Glass Caves.

It’s as if the first song is a rallying call. The Macbeth is now packed. If you're unlucky enough to be at the back, that’s where you're staying. I’ve seen more room on the underground at rush hour.

‘Driving Home’ provides a perfect example why it’s always better to see bands live, rather than judge and pontificate over a well-mixed album.

So, let’s set the scene. The tracks they play have a passing resemblance to the album versions. Speakers, amps and wattage are cranked up to maximum and left there to survive the onslaught, or not. This is a grown up band, none of your boy band bollocks here. Some may say there is an edginess in their performance. More like, run your hand over these chord edges and watch it get shredded.

Matthew Hallas on lead vocals matches his job description. He leads, with a presence, stage ownership and vocal dexterity. He knows what he’s doing. Most of the lyrics were lost due to the sheer ferocity and drive pulsating from the stage. This set isn’t a sing along. It is more for the inner self to be awakened. Was he the new man in black, decked with his cross and chain?

That said, the Northern/Southern banter is rubbish. It sounda tired and laboured. “Hi, we are from Leeds. From the North. Anyone know where that is? As one guy in the audience remarks, “I’m from Melbourne and even I know where Leeds is… .” I’m sure most of his white rose fans are cringing. Leave geographic banter to the politicians.

Once the audience interaction is done they startd up ‘Breaking Out’. A demonstration of loops, melodies and timings which are becoming a trademark stamp on the ears of an audience, confirm Glass Caves are at work. Those delayed guitar licks and running bass line have everyone tapping out the beat, hand, feet, head. It is contagious.

They do a particularly good job on ‘Out of Control’. Lead and bass guitar are given a degree of latitude to let loose, with drum/percussion pacing the ebbs and flows of the song. Their backing harmonies pitch well with Hallas’ occasional falsetto accompaniment.

No doubt the gathered throng like what they hear. Live Glass Caves can raise the tempo and show a different side to their studio persona. These guys (I’m sure) could strip down and produce their songs with a more acoustic lyrical lilt. I say this, as they have the musical skills and ability to play their songs in a variety and format of styles.

For this venue, on this evening Glass Caves are exciting, fresh and different. The question is, do they have what it takes to climb the greasy indie pole?

Take a look when you can and make up your own mind.


Photos by Billy Seagrave
www.seagravesocialphotography.com

















Related Links:

http://www.glasscaves.co.uk/
http://www.seagravesocialphotography.com
https://twitter.com/glasscaves
https://www.facebook.com/glasscavesmusic


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